An MA in Architectural Design studio led by Nishat Awan that approached borders as places of mobility and exchange and as spaces that regulate flows – these could be flows of people, goods, commodities, trade or finance. Whilst traditionally borders are thought to appear at the edges of national or regional territories, today they are often displaced, such as the out-sourcing of European border security beyond its edges. Or borders are dispersed, appearing in cities, producing extra-territorial spaces, globalised markets and free zones. Often, borders not only operate horizontally but also vertically. We explored borders in the context of port cities, which are by definition places where different realities meet, the land and sea, different cultures, people, goods, money… We looked at how borders emerge through trajectories of trade and mobility, in the exchanges of global economies and cultural geographies. The studio worked across two sites, Tilbury docks at the edge of London and Yenikapi port and terminal in Istanbul. We investigated who regulates the border and how, but also how borders are transgressed daily. Borders can act as limits but they also offer opportunities and possibilities. At a time when borders seem to be multiplying everywhere, we speculated on the types of urban and spatial configurations that can emerge from these very particular conditions.
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